South African ad agency Quirk to team with leading global communications group WPP

By Bizclik Editor

UK-based global leader in advertising and marketing services, WPP, is to buy a controlling stake in Africa’s largest independent marketing agency group Quirk.

South Africa-based Quirk was founded by its Chief Executive Officer Rob Stokes in 1999 and employs some 200 people across its various offices.

It currently has five agencies in Africa and London, including a new but burgeoning presence in Kenya.

Quirk offers a full suite of “through-the-line” marketing services to a formidable portfolio of local and international clients, including Woolworths, Capitec Bank and Distell.

WPP’s Chief Executive Officer Sir Martin Sorrell said: “WPP has been watching Quirk for a while and we feel strongly that now is the right time for us to join forces.

“As a group Quirk has demonstrated consistent growth and creativity way above the market in both South Africa and the UK and we look forward to helping them bring their unique brand of insight and innovation to our global client base.”

Stokes said: “I feel like we have agreed an incredible deal, and one which will really take our business forward. Quirk is not a normal agency, and the team at WPP realise this.

“They have embraced our rather unusual culture and progressive approach to marketing, and together we have designed a partnership which will allow us to retain much of our independence in areas which matter most to us, whilst still allowing us to benefit from the advantages of being part of a global advertising network.

“Quirk has always held massive ambitions to expand our unique service offerings across the African continent, and our relationship with WPP will ensure that this becomes a reality far quicker that we could otherwise have dreamed.  Words cannot express how excited we are!"  

 This investment aligns well with WPP’s strategy of developing its services in fast-growing and important markets and sectors and strengthening its capabilities in digital media.

WPP's digital revenues (including associates) were well over US$6 billion in 2013, representing almost 35 percent of the Group’s total revenues of US$17.3 billion.

 WPP has set a target of 40-45 percent of revenue to be derived from digital in the next five years. 

 Quirk's unaudited consolidated revenues for the year ended February 28, 2014 were approximately ZAR 140 million, with gross assets at the same date of approximately ZAR 68 million. 

The deal issubject to regulatory approval.

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